The Psychology of Colour: Why Wear Burgundy?


Colour encompasses the words unspoken. It’s a universal language of self-expression that allows us to reflect on how we feel and desire to be seen. The use of colour to communicate in this way has been rooted in history, seen through culture, royalty, war and status. Colours continue to hold sacred significance in cultures around the world. Now, in the age of digital reign, social relevance is a desideratum. There’s an added urgency to express oneself clearly and boldly. There’s an intriguing correlation forming within our digital society. As technology grows bolder, so too do our stylistic choices, met with a need to be clear and concise. As a result of this, it’s no surprise that burgundy has been labelled the colour of the year in the fashion world. Is this deeper, darker, more daring shade reflecting a deeper, darker time in the world? A real-time visual of life imitating art. 

What season are you?  

A question that’s become customary to everyday chatter. 

It seems colour analysis was next in line to ride the social media trend wave, which enticed many to re-think the colours they were wearing. Colours are wonderfully reactive. Be it skin tone, lighting, or mood, the appearance of colour can shift with the drop of a hat. The same colour can translate in a multitude of ways depending on the subject and surrounding environment. Blue can enhance one person and totally wash out another. A dress can look white and gold in one light or blue and black in another. Different shades and tones can transform our mental state, causing a seismic shift in our physical appearance. Without ever meeting a person we can make calculated assumptions based on what they’re wearing, their colour choice and how they carry themselves. Renditions of the powerful modern woman have rocked streets and runways globally, it’s no wonder the vast majority are reaching for burgundy as the new “it” colour. 

What gives burgundy its mystique and allure? 

In general colour theory, red signifies excitement, strength, love, energy, boldness and femininity. The deeper the red, the more passionate, more intense, mysterious and sensual. Wearing red has been proven to boost confidence. Think deep red lips on a date night, a flirtatious red dress, maybe a pair of red heels popping out against more muted tones. When well-balanced, an outfit with a pop of red exudes confidence and an equilibrium between masculine and feminine energy. Burgundy intensifies these effects further, deepening each correlation. They say the best way to gain confidence over time is to “fake it till you make it”. Working with colour theory is one of the many ways in which one can achieve this. It’s a game of psychology and you only need to flip through history to see evidence of it. 

 Red is particularly powerful as it merges opposing forces in mystifying juxtaposition. It fuses fertility, sexuality, romance and desire with dominance, power, danger and courage. Historically, red signifies royalty, luxury, power and war. Roman soldiers, for example, paid homage to the god of war, Mars, by wearing red tunics. 

Burgundy made itself known at fashion weeks this year with luxury fashion houses like Gucci, Hermès, Bottega Veneta and Ferragamo all hopping on the trend. On the streets, this shade has been everywhere. Regularly spotted have been burgundy accessories, adding a pop of sensual colour to a universal series of looks. Makeup artists have also jumped on board, experimenting with burgundy lashes to accentuate the eyes, as well as hair stylists who have been booked out with burgundy hair transformations. 

Burgundy has harnessed the moment, but how long will it stay?

Written by Ashley Jade Callahan from GLITCH Magazine


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